Do you want to share a passion for the area? Maybe you want to review local eateries, arts and culture. Or maybe you a local creative who wants to collaborate with us on a series of articles about your local area? You don’t have to be a professional journalist to contribute content, just someone with a passion or specialist interest. We’ll provide the opportunities and contacts to help you realise your work. In the past our citizen journalists have included chef Tamsin Robinson, environmental campaigner Lizzy Mace, author Tabitha Potts and vegan foody Gem Stokes.
Citizen Journalists looking to develop their writing skills may be interested in applying to our Writers in Residence programme.
Meet our citizen journalists
Gem Stokes is an English literature student at QMUL and lives off Roman Road. An emerging journalist, Gem edits the music column for the university’s CUB magazine. She loves vegan food and is passionate about supporting the local community. “Supporting local, independent businesses is essential to the growth of the local economy, and I saw no better way to do that than to utilise my voice as a writer to encourage others to shop and eat locally, too. I love that the magazine shares my ethos and I feel at home as a citizen journalist at Roman Road LDN.” Gem is using this opportunity to expand her craft in writing. “Writing for Roman Road LDN has proved to be a profound experience. I have developed my writing skills, improved my confidence in interviews, and widened my vocabulary for talking about good food. I really enjoy the collaborative style of editing, feeling like I’m working alongside my editor, rather than under them. I’ve discovered some really great restaurants and met some really great people, and I can’t wait to discover more.” See all of Gem Stokes work here.
Kata is a freelance photographer from Hungary, doing her film degree in East London. She loves exploring the hidden gems within the local community and best thing about working with Roman Road LDN has been getting to know the amazing people who build our community. ’I have had the pleasure of interviewing people from different backgrounds, representing diverse aims and ideologies. Every member of our community carries such great importance; like screws in machinery, no matter how small, everyone has a place.’ says Kata. ‘Working with Roman Road LDN has opened my eyes about how essential it is to support your local community, and how mutually beneficial it can be to promote the local area’, says Kata. ‘For me, this magazine exudes teamwork and family, providing the opportunity to create together, where everyone has a voice.’ Looking forward Kata would like to continue using her voice to bring attention to smaller surroundings despite living in a city as big as London. See all of Kata Szabo’s work here.
Tabitha Potts is a writer living in East London, which inspires much of her work. She has had several short stories published in print and online and was most recently long-listed for the Royal Academy and Pin Drop Short Story Award. She loves reading books, looking at art and kickboxing. ‘I wanted to volunteer as I love East London and have a strong interest in its history and heritage. Learning more about it and sharing that knowledge is important to me.’ explains Potts. ‘Also I support Roman Road LDN’s social ethos and it’s ability to enrich the lives of local residents like myself.’ The benefits? ‘I wanted to build a portfolio so I can raise my profile as a reviewer and writer. I’ve improved my skills and abilities as a journalist and reviewer and now write for two other online magazines as well.’ Read her stories at www.tabithapotts.com or stay in touch via twitter @tabithapotts or Instagram. See all work by Tabitha Potts.
Local photography agent Rosie Wadey is our Citizen Journalist Arts Reviewer. ‘Over the years Roman Road LDN has pointed me in the direction of some great new places to visit and learn about’, says Rosie. ‘Volunteering here as an Arts Reviewer helps me balance the corporate work I do day-to-day and it feels good to be part of a community with a long history.’ The opportunity to review art has given Wadey the opportunity to look more deeply at artwork. ‘It has forced me to consider more carefully each paint stroke or mark, the materiality of the works, and the physical curation of the show’, says Wadey. ‘It has also given me the opportunity to finesse my writing skills and I hope to eventually diversify into longer form features and opinion pieces.’ Wadey also writes for photography title Loupe, and mentors on the BA Photography degrees at University of the Arts London. See all work by Rosie Wadey.
Lizzy Mace is Chair of Cranbrook Community Food Garden, a member of the Bethnal Green Transition Town group, and is working with Roman Road Trust on a project to reduce single-use plastic on the high street. What she loves about being Roman Road’s Environmental Correspondent is that she gets to spread positivity and empower people to take action about climate change. ‘Reading about the climate in the national and international press can often be overwhelming and make readers feel utterly helpless. I wanted to make sure that my articles both tell the truth about the climate crisis while also sharing actions people can take on a personal, and community level to help bring about systemic changes in governments and corporations.’ When not saving the planet by day, by night she performs and teaches improvised comedy theatre around the UK and beyond. See all work by Lizzy Mace.
Tom Keeling currently studies Documentary Photography at UAL. His work is mainly long-term project based and explores things of his own personal interest throughout the United Kingdom. In addition to this, Tom works in a local bicycle shop on Roman Road and has a keen interest in the local community.
‘Having just got a job on Roman Road, I wanted to learn more about the local area.’ Tom wanted to be able to give back to the local area ‘whilst potentially being able to use imagery from the work with your magazine for personal/university projects’. The best bits? ‘Getting to go to places and photograph places out of the public domain. It’s also interesting to meet the people behind the driving force of East London (the stables and fire station). What has Tom learned? ‘I’m constantly learning new things, both photographically and in other ways, and this opportunity has further added to this.’ See all work by Tom Keeling.
Cecelia Cran is a local resident and blogger. She moved to Bow a few years ago and couldn’t get enough of the place. ‘I genuinely believe that no where else in London has such a rich and important history, a fabulous variety of people, and true sense of community. Mile End is a hidden gem – unknown and unchartered by many and I want everyone to know about it.’ And Roman Road LDN, she says, has helped her to engage more with her much- beloved local area. ‘I thought I was pretty well clued up, but I always learn something new from the site!’ You can follow her on Instagram at MileEndMoments. See all work by Ceceila Cran.
Matt Ludlow is a freelance copywriter who is passionate about being involved in projects of social benefit. When he left his job in the charity sector to develop his writing skills, Ludlow wanted to find an opportunity that would allow him have a social impact and enhance his portfolio and profile as a writer. ‘ What does he enjoy most? ‘The investigative side because it enables me to learn fascinating, previously unknown things about a topic. It also provides clarity on how I will proceed to shape the articles. So it’s an exciting part of the creative process.’ The opportunity has allowed Ludlow to grow professionally. ‘I’ve learned that the angle at which you approach a story is of equal importance to the story itself.’ Read Ludlow’s piece about the history of the London Buddhist Centre. See all work by Matt Ludlow.
Claire Watts specialises in shooting architecture and shot Cranbrook Estate as part of a personal project for Architecture Week. Watts has lived in Bethnal Green for five years and loves waking up to the squawk of parakeets on their way to Victoria Park. See all work by Claire Watts.
Sophie Beagles is an architectural designer, educator and planner. She is interested in celebrating everyday places and the people within our cities. What prompted Beagles to get involved? ‘I had read some pieces online and attended Roman Road LDN’s first birthday party out of curiosity. Tabitha and the team were very supportive and encouraging about the idea of me contributing, which made it really accessible and enjoyable to get involved.’ Beagles has most enjoyed meeting new people and finding out more about the local area. On how this opportunity has helped her professionally? ‘I have gained a greater understanding of citizen journalism as a tool for community involvement. This has been a useful reference for my work as an advisor on strategic regeneration projects and community involvement.’ See all work by Sophie Beagles.
Massimo Iannetti graduated from King’s College London with an MA in Sustainable Cities. His work has mainly focused on urban investigation and social research, particularly related to community enhancement and sense of place. Using his passion for photography and video-making, Iannetti is using media to narrate urban stories as well as fostering art and culture as community facilitators and place identity’s toolkits for community building. See all workby Massimo Iannetti.